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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

African American family dynamics as perceived by family members.

Author: Kane,C.M.
Author Background:
Type Journal
Journal Title: Journal-of-Black-Studies.
Volume/Pages 30(5) 691-702
Subject Matter African American, Family
Abstract What has been recommended as a better approach to studying African American family dynamics is that of using family life in the African cultural tradition as the basis for comparison (Fine et al., 1987 Fullilove et al., 1986 Littlejohn-Blake & Darling, 1993 Nobles, 1974 Staples, 1974). This approach uses the family's heritage as a frame of reference rather than arbitrarily assuming European family patterns to be the norm for all cultures. Because the stated purpose of multicultural research is to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of each culture (Locke, 1992 Sue & Sue, 1990), methods that will allow researchers to begin with that culture's frame of reference seem inherently preferable. The research described here follows the recommendations offered above. African American men and women were asked to express their perceptions of the dynamics in their family of origin by completing the Family of Origin Scale (Hovestadt, Anderson, Piercy, Cochran, & Fine, 1985). The empirical data gathered was compared with African American family dynamics described in the literature, particularly with those patterns of family life attributed to the African tradition.